Putin decided to attack Ukraine after he recognized two self-proclaimed separatist republics in eastern Ukraine.
By Rakesh Raman
The U.S. President Joe Biden and NATO have failed miserably to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin from attacking Ukraine. Putin declared a war on Ukraine in the wee hours of today (February 24) and demanded Kyiv forces in Ukraine to surrender.
Instead of finding a military solution to a military problem, weak-kneed Biden and NATO kept talking about sanctions on Russia while sanctions and bureaucratic condemnation statements never deterred the Russian leader.
In a routine manner, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg again said today (February 24) that he “strongly condemned Russia’s reckless and unprovoked attack on Ukraine, which puts at risk countless civilian lives.”
“Once again, despite our repeated warnings and tireless efforts to engage in diplomacy, Russia has chosen the path of aggression against a sovereign and independent country,” Stoltenberg added in his casual statement.
In a similar meaningless statement, Biden said, “Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable.”
But such hopeless remarks do not have any impact on Putin. Reuters reports that shortly after Putin spoke in a televised address on Russian state TV, explosions were heard in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
Putin decided to attack Ukraine after he recognized two self-proclaimed separatist republics in eastern Ukraine. He had signed on February 21 the recognition decrees which also included an order for the Defense Ministry to send Russian troops under the garb of “peacekeeping forces” to the breakaway regions.
Separatists backed by Russia have been occupying the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, collectively known as the Donbass. The two regions broke away from Ukrainian government control in 2014 and declared themselves independent “people’s republics.”
In order to take control back from the rebels, Ukraine claims that about 15,000 people have been killed in fighting. With the Russian recognition, now Russia claims that it has the right to deploy its soldiers in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions which have become Russian allies. But the international community that demands Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, has refuted Russia’s reasoning.
NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg had said on February 21 that NATO supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.
According to NATO, Russia continues to fuel the conflict in eastern Ukraine by providing financial and military support to the separatists and it is also trying to stage a pretext to invade Ukraine once again.
“I condemn Russia’s decision to extend recognition to the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic. This further undermines Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, erodes efforts towards a resolution of the conflict, and violates the Minsk Agreements, to which Russia is a party,” Stoltenberg said.
Similarly, the U.S. condemned President Putin’s decision to recognize the “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics” as “independent.” The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “States have an obligation not to recognize a new ‘state’ created through the threat or use of force, as well as an obligation not to disrupt another state’s borders. Russia’s decision is yet another example of President Putin’s flagrant disrespect for international law and norms.”
Amid efforts to find a diplomatic resolution to the conflict, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that with the new recognition, Putin has only “legalized” troops already present in the self-proclaimed republics since 2014.
The U.S. State Department said President Biden will sign an Executive Order that will prohibit all new investment, trade, and financing by U.S. persons to, from, or in the so-called “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics” regions of Ukraine.
But Putin simply ignored all those feeble warnings and attacked Ukraine, reinforcing the fact that Russia is a formidable force that cannot be challenged by the traditional leaders such as Biden and others in NATO.
By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.
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